Crossroads’ Carmen Quesada (from our 24-hour prayer ministry) joined me on this trip to northern B.C. The trip’s purpose was to pray for individuals up and down the Alaska Highway from Fort St. John to Fort Nelson (almost to the Yukon border). We were invited to two hospitals, five Indigenous Communities, one Non-Indigenous church located at Mile 72 and one business located at Sasquatch Crossing on Mile 147. The highway was built in eight months and paid for by the US government during World War II. It runs from Dawson Creek, BC to Fairbanks, Alaska. Back then the road was dirt through forests. Today it is paved all the way making for easier access to the many Indigenous communities located miles into the interior. The access roads are all still dirt.
After praying for individual needs, we prayed for revival to explode in the communities. We prayed and fasted. The longest prayer was four and half hours at Blueberry River First Nation.
I want to share an interesting experience with you that may help you understand the different cultural ways of Indigenous Peoples. Each language group is different from other Indigenous cultures. One can’t lump them all into one basket, the mistake of many. That is why it is so important to be invited by a local person who understands the intimate ways of their particular community. I was asked by a Crossroads donor to visit and take a photo of the grave of his adopted son located on the way to the band office on Halfway River First Nation.
As a matter of fact, Rick Wolf pointed out the cemetery to us as we drove by but said we must go to the band office first to get permission. I thought that because we were with Rick and Lana Wolf who knew most of the people at Halfway, that we wouldn’t need to get permission but that was not the case.
There were two people working in the band office. Several others were chatting with staff. We waited our turn. Rick introduced me to the administrator, the only person with authority there at that time. After showing her the letter I had from the father, she asked everyone in the office if they remembered this person who was buried on their land. No one did. She then made several phone calls each time passing the phone to me to explain my request and answer questions. I remained respectful and not hurried for an answer. I sensed they were checking me out. If any person said no, then I would not be allowed to visit the cemetery and risked being escorted off their land had I any kind of attitude about me.
The visitors were also asked if they felt comfortable with me taking a picture. I assured them the pictures were only for the father and not for public use. They gave their consent. Time stood still. No other work was done. Everyone shared in the conversation and was very much in the moment. No distractions, no cell phones, no paperwork to be done. Everything was focused on my request which took about an hour to resolve. It’s a very slow process compared to Southern Ontario ‘cut to the chase’ style of life I live! I followed Rick’s lead on pace and tone. We said thank you and left the band office. Rick shared that one of the visitors quietly told him that we needed to see Bella who was one of the elders in the community and didn’t have a phone. We were given directions to her home. Rick was always the one to knock on doors or go into places first then introduce me. We found Bella sitting at the table. She hollered for us to come in. She doesn’t see very well and doesn’t want to move. Rick explained my special request. Bella didn’t remember the young man but gladly gave her permission. We were finally ready to visit the grave site.
We live in the ‘me’ generation of individualism but Indigenous Peoples live in community and respect the wishes of all of its members. The DNA of Indigenous Peoples is not a pyramid structure of power but a circle with Creator being in the circle’s center. Everyone else is equal including the chief who joins the circle facing inward. Everyone can speak their mind and hopefully come to a decision that will honour their people for the next seven generations.
I was invited by Lana Wolf last year to come and pray with her along with some of her Christian friends. Her husband only got involved on the last day when I asked to visit the place where their last Christian chief lived. There are a few ruins left in the valley where Chief Yahay used to live and tell stories from the Bible to his people along with dreams for Blueberry. We needed a driver to take us through fields and forest to reach the abandoned location. Rick is a quiet man but full of the Spirit of God and quite knowledgeable on the Word of God. This year he was very involved with the entire trip and visits getting bolder at every stop. At the end of our visit, we had a debrief with Rick and Lana. Rick says he will now travel to each community and visit the Christians every 4-6 weeks discipling these believers. This is so exciting as he never felt to do something like this. He says he feels empowered with us coming and supporting him. We brought Indigenous resources and we will keep him supplied.
Our goal is always self-determination, empowering the Indigenous to take control of their lives and run with the vision God gives them. We don’t want to lead these missions but simply come along side of them. It’s advantageous for Rick to say that a prayer team from Crossroads is here for three to five days to visit and pray. If it was just Rick alone it might be weeks before he gets confirmation for a visit. But with a Crossroads team visiting, there is a sense of urgency not usually felt.
We want to create a Jesus movement along the Alaska Highway supporting the local ‘church’. Lord willing, we hope to return this fall before the roads become difficult to navigate. The Alaska Highway is good but the roads into the reserves do not get plowed quickly. Thank you again for your prayers and support for Truth and Reconciliation. Galatians 6:9 says ‘Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.’
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